If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free.
The Abuse Of US Governmental Power For Partisan Purposes Is An Artifact Of Obamite Rule
Facts: Lois Lerner, a former high official in the federal tax agency (the Internal Revenue Service), claimed, “I have done nothing wrong. I have not broken any laws, I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations.” She lied, as can be proved. When confronted with evidence of a political motive for breaking the rules (for example, forwarding confidential taxpayer information to her own e-mail account), she refused to comment.
Lerner has referred to the “wingnut” Tea Party as “very dangerous”. She refuses to give testimony before a Congressional committee investigating IRS’s targeting and persecution of the activist group, preferring instead to make statements (without grant of immunity) to Holder’s Department of Justice, which agency has already declared that it does not expect to prosecute anyone involved in this scandal.
You know that this newsletter has referred to the “Becket effect”, according to which bureaucrats, recognizing the partisan preferences of Team Obama, take politically correct but unethical and illegal steps to hinder “wingnut” activism. It’s lickspittle fascism.
Of course Holder & Co. won’t prosecute the Obamites who, motivated by partisan loyalty, abuse the mandate of the nation’s tax authority. That fact has never been questioned. What does remain to be determined is what the House of Representatives and the Congress intend to do to restore equity, honesty, decent practice, and ethics to one of the government’s most powerful — and feared — instrumentalities.
Do inform yourself. Click on the hyperlink and read the item. While you do, ponder the implications of an administration so rabidly partisan that it is comfortable with the malfeasance of high officials in the executive branch — and, as reward for their servile misbehavior, shields them from true justice.
Dispatches From A Tramp Abroad
Current manifestations of history
A long-lost Hitchcock film has been recovered, but it will probably not fill the movie theaters. Why are we (US/UK) trying to come to terms (Vergangenheitsbewältigung) with the atrocities committed by the National Socialist Germans? Shouldn’t this restored and complete film be shown in Germany and Austria, maybe also France and Switzerland?
A little thought leads me to conclude that the Allied Powers came to terms with this phenomenon long ago. But we came to terms with history from a unique perspective, as we were not the perpetrators of the ethnic cleansing, rather those who ended it. Because their nation was the collective perpetrator, the Germans have to deal differently this with despicable period in their history. Germans who went to school in the 1950s and 60s tell me varying stories; some say that Nazi history was included in their curricula while others say it was skipped over. I suspect that it was mandatory, but the depth in which the subject was studied varied depending on the teacher, the school, the city, the part of the country and how much time had elapsed since the end of the Third Reich. For example, in the 1990s, Stolpersteine were created. They are “mini-monuments” to Jews and others such as the Sinti and Roma (so-called Gypsies) who were killed by the Nazis. The memorials are paving stones placed on sidewalks where these people used to live. The stones have been almost universally accepted in Germany and some other countries. My wife told me that she heard a radio program in which it was reported that in Bavaria there was initial strong resistance to these “stumbling blocks”; now there are several hundred.
Back to the film: I think the US/UK have resurrected this film and cleaned it up for film-historical reasons. The apparently “lost” reels were found, and with today’s digital technology, technicians were able to piece together the complete film and present it as its makers intended. I believe the (re-)makers of the new version were driven more by their desire for “completeness” than any attempt to make an another contribution to the presumptive struggle of dealing with the past. Of course there will be an indirect effect in Germany, which is perhaps not to be downplayed given that national-socialistic tendencies in some parts of German society are on the rise again.
Turkey copes with discord
Will Twitter be the downfall of RTE? My friends in Turkey are telling me it took them “all of 45 seconds” to figure out how to circumvent the Turkish government’s ban on Twitter. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan seems to be the only one in favor of this ban; even Turkish President Abdullah Gül “…hope[s] this will not last long.”
The Twit shut down Twitter, but Turks keep tweeting. All day today, virtually every one of my Turkish friends was posting something, usually humorous, about their prime minister’s order to shut down Twitter last night. It looks as if he’s stepped in the doggy doo-doo. Here, for example, is a message from the Deputy Group President of the CHP (Republican People’s Party) Muharrem İnce:
DON’T PLAY THE GAME!
I call (appeal) to our youth; keep calm, don’t engage in violence. All dictators want the youth to engage in violence. The thing that dictators like the least is humor. Explain (describe) their real face with humor (satire).
Articles and commentary from around the world: One, Two, Three. Erdoğan said yesterday in an election rally hours before the block took effect: “We will eradicate Twitter. I do not care what the international community says.” It looks as if the Turkish public does not care what Erdoğan says, either. Recent history around the world and in Turkey shows that the social media are a serious threat to autocrats. Twitter itself is not taking this lightly. Then there is this obvious truth.
No more Tweeting from Turkey: here’s the the news report before the storm. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made good on his promise to shut down Twitter and doesn’t give a damn about international criticism.
An excerpt from HALK TV (People’s TV, one of the few TV stations in Turkey reporting critically about Erdoğan:
– Bilal my son, we shut down Twitter, change (your) DNS (settings)
+ What is DNS?, father.
– Go to network settings, from there my son.
+ Where, father?
– Is Sümeyye (your sister) there? Call Sümeyye to me (the phone).
The joke is that in all of the alleged recordings of tapped phone calls between Tayyip Erdoğan and his son, Bilal, the son is depicted as (or behaves like) a total idiot. He speaks openly about dirty money, and asks his father to repeat things that he says in code. Whenever Tayyip is exasperated, he asks Bilal to call his sister to the phone or wait until she shows up so that she can explain to Bilal what he is to do.
Getting around the Twitter ban in Turkey: graffiti on walls, on election posters, on store windows and even written on banknotes.
Things are getting hot on the Syria-Turkey border. Is Erdoğan getting trigger-happy simply in order to distract the nationalists from the true issues? — In case the above link does not work, use this.
The Tramp’s links
Able Archer 83: On the brink of Nuclear War. Here is a very interesting source for those interested in the history of the cold war and its implications.
Ladies Underwear, Half-Off! When I was a kid, I always used to tell my parents that these 50%-Off Sales were a scam. One week before, they probably raise the price 100% and then have a 50% off sale the following week. This news item proves that I was absolutely right.
I consider myself indifferent to homosexuality. It’s not my cup of tea, but I certainly would not blame homosexuals for all of the ills in society, as this nutcase preacher did. I wonder what he would think if, in his afterlife, he has to share eternity with a gay or lesbian?
To vaccinate or not to vaccinate? I have a few friends who steadfastly refuse to get vaccinations — not against the (in)flu(enza), but for some of the most common and potentially deadly preventable diseases like polio, measles, mumps and tetanus. Moreover, they don’t vaccinate their children. Is this a subject akin to male circumcision, which some people believe should not be done to children before they reach the age of majority? Well, no one can die from not being circumcised, but one sure as hell can die from tetanus.
An igloo for the tropics! I could imagine building something like this in my backyard and enjoying many hours relaxing in it.
No written or verbal expression of religious faith allowed in the U.S. Air Force? I always thought the blue suit chair force rangers were not so uptight.
Ruminations On Snowden
“You’re giving up your rights. Your rights matter because you never know when you’ll need them. People should be able to pick up the phone and call their family, should be able to send a text message to their loved one, buy a book online, without worrying how this could look to a government possibly years in the future. We have a right to privacy. Trusting anybody, any government authority with the entirety of human communications, in secret, without oversight, is simply too great a temptation to be ignored.” (Source.) Well. Snowden put it incorrectly. He’s wrong to say that all governments will necessarily act evilly. What he means is this: trusting the government creates an opportunity for the government to abuse your trust. Well, Eddie, that’s life; you’ve never been married, eh?
Too, Snowden was wrong about rights. They are not important because they are needed, or because they might be needed in the future. They are not there just in case, as a fire extinguisher is; they are abiding, defining determinants of humanity. Unlike tools or emergency supplies or defensive measures that might never be employed, rights cannot be dispensed with; you have them, and no entity can strip you of them. You can be denied their expression or use, and governments do that all the time. (That grim reality is the best possible reason to promote anarchist libertarianism, but let that go for now.) Because you know rights to be permanent and transcendent, you know there is always justification for the overthrow of tyranny and authoritarian — that is, fascist — regimes.
It bears repeating: one cannot possibly “give up” his rights; one can merely refuse to assert them, and fail to correct the abuses that restrict their exercise. (See the afterword.)
For all his lofty pronouncements and obviously ethical motivations, Snowden is something of a novice. That means that while the polity monitors the behavior of the Powers That Be, it must also monitor the activities of self-appointed saviors like Snowden. Not everything the man says or does is necessarily correct, either philosophically or ethically.
Afterword: the existential nature of human rights is easily disputed. In fact philosophers and leaders have assumed rights exist, and defined them in such a way as to lend them virtual reality. In contrast to the simple declarations of eighteenth century visionaries in Europe, Britain and the North American colonies, modern thinkers have obliquely suggested that rights, which are based on ethics, have evolved naturally. You might recall this newsletter’s review of Nagel’s book: the author of Mind and Cosmos posits the existence of quality as a primordial fact of nature. Too, the resurgence of teleological concepts in biology and philosophy suggests that if human rights have a brief history, that is because they have evolved only recently as a necessary result of the universe somehow “waking up”, as Nagel puts it. This newsletter is satisfied to insist that whether you or any politician believe in human rights, they are real, damn it!
Ridicule, Umbrage, Trepidation, Frustration, Enigma
Mike Mann is the chief architect of The Hockey Stick Graph, the canonical icon of anthropogenic global warming. He labors at Pennsylvania State University, the institution where Sandusky and Paterno and a number of other unprincipled university officials disgraced themselves repeatedly. Mark Steyn is a brilliant wordsmith who could not resist writing some pointed things about the juxtaposition of these facts, so Mann sued. The immediate response from rational observers was that Mikey better watch out for discovery — because that unrelentingly fastidious process could take huge chunks out of his professorial backside.
Look, it’s simple, but the jurisprudential system is going to allow it to become so complicated that it could well be impossible for justice to prevail.
First, Mann’s work on proxies providing insight into historical climate is hopelessly unscientific, and of course he’s never been willing to help anyone understand how he got the goofy results he did. Second, Steyn mocked him and noted that his employer has long had a, well, sloppy way of overseeing the work of its people. Mann unwisely sued both the publication and the author, and Steyn countersued.
Third, Steyn is dying to get to discovery, as it will give his lawyers a chance to drive trenchant facts into Mann’s rotund frame, thereby exposing the professor’s hypersensitivity to criticism. Why? The argument will be cogent: revelations that Mann’s research is stunningly incompetent have evoked his hysterically defensive attitude, and the result is this lawsuit, which is obviously without merit but nevertheless passionately prosecuted. Steyn has surely prepared his lawyers (presumably by having them read this book).
Now National Review, which Mann is also suing, is demonstrating an inexplicable lack of resolve. Here’s a description of the mess as Steyn sees it.
This needs to go to trial, and that means it should go to discovery as soon as possible. The court should order Mann to sit down and explain himself, now. Let the attorneys argue over whether Steyn accused Mann of pederasty, or of approving of or covering up the acts of a pederast (he did none of those things), and then…
…the question becomes whether it is all right to ridicule someone by sniggering about some of the people who were also employed at the same outfit. No, it isn’t all right, and Steyn was probably a bit out of line, but his debatable excess was neither libel nor defamation of character.
Mann badly needs to spend a few weeks meditating in an ashram.
Yes, Steyn could lose. Not all cases are properly decided, as this newsletter’s Tramp Abroad has reminded you.
Is This Related To The Item On Steyn And Mann Just Above?
As you know, this newsletter has long insisted that the anthropogenic global warming concept is fiction, not fact, and that it is promoted by a cult-like aggregation of alarmist science-abusers, buck-chasers peddling “carbon offsets”, misanthropic nuts blaming humanity for inclement weather, politicians who lust for more control over the world’s economy, and dreamy eco-freaks who are suckers for simple answers to hard questions. The word from here has been that as genuine science disproves more and more of the AGW myth, the cult will redouble its efforts.
That meant that the bastions of AGW faith that exist in what the public thinks of as the scientific community would never lower their drawbridges to admit “deniers” to their proceedings.
Yet that is what has just happened.
Read and click
Heads are exploding in the anthropogenic global warming cult, and with good reason. Hard, objective science seems to be making a comeback, and frankly, this newsletter has no idea why that is. Read more about this shocking development, and if you can figure out what in the world happened, please let NTG know!
Overstressed and febrile
The puzzle is daunting. In fact the mystery is so profound that it has overheated a vulnerable cerebral cortex here — and inspired a fantasy that explains everything.
Now what you are about to read is almost certainly not true, so stop reading if you lack both a spirit of adventure and a love of creative explanations.
The world has known for some time that Mike Mann would have to try to avoid submitting to the discovery phase of his lawsuit. If a lawyer who has been tutored by a statistician pins Mann down, the hockey stick graph will be shattered, with catastrophic consequences for the cult. So far, Mann has ducked every hard question and obscured the subject effectively, but his tactics will never succeed if he has to give a deposition. Those ordeals can go on for days, weeks.
Imagination takes flight
It is therefore just possible that some of the wisest men in the warmer cult said something like this:
Forced to answer, Mann will collapse, and the bogus data will spill all over the floor. Remember, he’s never been pinned down; he has always ducked, weaved, and used his gift of gab effectively, while waving his credentials at the world. The university had way too much to lose, so they let him off. But it’s over; there is no way he can survive this. We have to accept that, and we have to deal with it before he melts down. The full story will hit the papers, and most of our True Believers will damn us as puppet-masters. We need to put on a show of scientific objectivity now, and that means letting a few of our most deadly enemies participate in a gradual restructuring of the movement. Yes, that means holy terrors like Lindzen. Lindzen and one or two others have to be included in the sessions that produce our next pronouncement to the public. Of course we’ll moderate our predictions accordingly, and diplomatically announce that we are inclusive, willing to re-examine the data, and realistic. We’ll talk about how we follow the facts wherever they lead, and admit that we have to modify our conclusions as we learn more. We can even babble about how the driver of a car has to adjust the steering wheel as he goes. And so on.
Face it: Mann is going to crack. We have to be proactive. Don’t consider this a retreat — look at it as a way of turning a crash-and-burn plane wreck into a hard landing.
A final disclaimer
Probable? No. But still fun to contemplate.
Kerry: “I am approaching this, you know, tabula rasa“. (Source.) Finally, the man says something that is self-descriptive, candid, and accurate.
Legalized marijuana strikes. Horrors!
This statement should attract your attention: “(A) counterterrorism expert…warned that these attacks could be a ‘test-run’ for a larger act of sabotage”. Yes. Do read the report. It’s not alarmist — it’s solid advice.
The popular wisdom has it that the evil and greedy Koch brothers are the champion manipulators of US politics. They pour unmatched levels of funding into “wingnut” groups that exercise tremendous power. The facts are otherwise, as you will discover if you seek — sincerely and without prejudice — the answer to this question: “Who sees to the most impressive flow of wealth to politicians in order to promote an agenda that, when adhered to, repays the donors munificently, without addressing the national interest?” Recommended, if you are a US voter.
Then and now. (Heavy sigh….)
Libertarian politics is becoming a mini-fad. It won’t last, because libertarian notions are not Utopian, and they focus on individual responsibility. Too many people are willing drones and peasants. The desire to be subsidized and controlled is the seductive mindset that underlies collectivism. The US populace is fragmented, and one of the biggest fragments is composed of volunteer serfs. Obama and Pelosi and Reed know this, and they depend on it to sustain an increasingly authoritarian regime.
Politico touts this commentary by saying that “Obama’s official dealings with Europe have been surprisingly rocky”. The facts surprise a “progressive”-leaning news medium, but given that Obama and Kerry are both ideologues, novices, and egotistical empty suits, no rational observer is surprised. Yes: this newsletter is surprised US relations with Europe are not worse than they are.
A weblogging law professor tells the USA how to reform its legal system. This is worth a read, even if you are not in the USA.
There’s a civil war shaping up in Libya, and the USA is already up to its neck in the festivities. The Libyan government tried to stop the theft of some crude oil, and when a tanker of shadowy provenance sailed with a cargo of stolen oil, the US sent in a team of SEALS to hijack the ship and return it to Libya. …. Memo to The One, copy to Krazy Kerry at State: Does this mean the USA will help crush the insurgents who are successfully preventing the Libyan government from exporting crude? Will US forces land, deploy, and attack? Is this yet another case of “mission creep”? Please: can this situation be clarified and debated before Uncle Sam gets further militarily involved?
The Dean of NTG subscribers has a recommendation for you. That means you are in for a treat. Well…it might be a bit scary, but….
Dietary fats and heart disease: this report suggests strongly that nobody knows anything helpful about the matter. Science marches on…leaving everyone wondering what to do. Is the public getting its money’s worth?
A “holy” war is to be fought wherever and whenever the opportunity is present. Remember that, Pilgrims.
If NSA gets slapped down for eavesdropping, will the citizenry be forbidden to record interactions with law enforcement officers? This decision suggests the answer is that no such prohibition would be proper. The struggle to compel all police departments to understand that the public is permitted to make video recordings of arrests and encounters with civilians continues. What is needed is a flat, unequivocal finding by the federal supreme court that one may make electronic records of what the cops do and what goes on in courtrooms — the only exception being identifying jurors. Even interrogations should be considered suitable for recording by suspects. A jurisprudential system that is not open to accurate scrutiny is already out of control.
This was so embarrassing they just had to take the videos down.
Obamacare Follies, Part Whateveritisbynow.
Islam advances, and Western Civilization confirms the Muslim evaluation of the struggle.
The masthead includes a quote from the works of P. J. O’Rourke.
The staff of The New Terrapin Gazette expresses its sincere gratitude to the many people who have gifted the world with Slackware Linux, Emacs, and Firefox.
Publisher: The Eagle Wing Palace of The Queen Chinee.